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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Coping Strategies for Mental Health

Counselling is a form of mental health support that can help support an individual in identifying and challenging their negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. 


Even if you or a loved one has never been to counselling, you have probably heard of cognitive behavioral therapy at some point in your life. 


Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the many different therapy modalities.



This is traditionally used as a therapy approach by mental health professionals because it is evidence-based. 


Let’s read on to discover more about cognitive behavioral therapy, and some of the coping strategies that are used in this therapy approach.


What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?


Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a popular therapeutic approach that is used for a variety of different concerns. 


It’s based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and actions are interconnected. 


Negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle. 


This therapeutic approach aims to help you deal with overwhelming problems more positively by breaking them down into smaller parts.


It may be beneficial for you if you need mental health support to challenge your unhelpful thoughts that prevent you from reaching your goals. 


This mental health support can involve many different categories, including:



Regardless of the category of therapy you are taking part in, you will be receiving virtual therapy at Bee Kind Counselling, so you may want to consider if virtual therapy is right for you


Therapy is beneficial for anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, marital problems, and other mental health challenges, life concerns, and transitions.  


Additional benefits of therapy range from improving relationships to an increase in empowerment. 


There is research on cognitive behavioral therapy to suggest that cognitive behavioral therapy can improve your functioning and quality of life and reduce symptoms of a variety of mental health challenges. 


What are Cognitive Distortions?


Cognitive distortions are the negative thoughts that we have that cognitive behavioral therapy seeks to counteract. 


These inaccurate thoughts reinforce negative behaviors and create a vicious cycle. 


The more you reinforce your negative behaviors, the more you reinforce your negative thoughts. 

The goal of cognitive-behavioral therapy is to stop this vicious cycle. 


Here are several examples of the cognitive distortions that cognitive behavioral therapy aims to counteract: 


  • Filtering: ignoring the positive thoughts and only filtering the negative.

  • Black-and-white thinking: considering everything as either all good or all bad, with no in-between. 

  • Overgeneralization: using something that happened once to generalize it to other situations. 

  • Personalization: believing that everything you do has an impact on external events or people. 

  • Blaming: blaming others for what went wrong. 

  • Should statements: believing you should do something in a specific way.


What Are Some Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Coping Strategies?


Cognitive-behavioral therapy coping strategies aim to counteract cognitive distortions and bring your thought pattern to a more balanced position. 


There are many different ways in which we can work to counteract these thoughts. Let’s take a look.


Journaling


Journaling allows you to gather all your thoughts in one place. 


You can analyze the facts of the situation and consider what you may be overthinking. 


You can use journaling to write down statements to counteract your negative thinking patterns with facts. 


Journaling also allows you to describe your mood and rate how you feel on a day-to-day basis.


Play the script until the end


This involves imagining the worst-case scenario and imagining that the situation played out until the end this way. 


The person then works through the thoughts and feelings that would come up if this situation did happen to occur and how they would work through this situation.


Counteract cognitive distortions


The primary goal of CBT is to find out where you are inserting cognitive distortions into your everyday life. 


You will then work with a mental health professional to find out where these cognitive distortions are coming from and the thinking patterns that get you stuck in a cycle. 


You’ll work to restructure and counteract cognitive distortions into more balanced ones.


This can be done using a thought record, which will ask you to write down the situation. 


You’ll then be asked to consider the facts for and against the outcome you are thinking of and then come to a more balanced thought process. 


Exposure therapy


Exposure therapy is a part of cognitive-behavioral therapy that is particularly helpful for phobias, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. 


This exposure therapy technique involves exposing yourself to whatever it is that you fear or that is causing your anxious and obsessive behaviors. 


This may be done gradually, where each step becomes increasingly difficult but closer to the desired outcome. 


For instance, with exposure therapy, someone with public speaking anxiety may start by speaking to one person and then speak to two people until they can speak in front of a crowd. 


Each step in exposure therapy involves working through cognitive distortions that cause you to avoid these situations, places, and things.


Progressive muscle relaxation


Many different relaxation techniques are used in cognitive-behavioral therapy. Progressive muscle relaxation is one of them.

 

This technique uses the practice of mindfulness. 


Mindfulness requires a person to be present in the moment. You allow your thoughts to just be there. You are aware of them, but you don’t allow them to consume you. 


During your progressive muscle relaxation exercise, you will tense and relax every single muscle group within your body, from your head to your feet. 


You can repeat the exercise until you feel a sense of calm.


Relaxed breathing


Another relaxation technique is relaxed breathing. 


This technique is especially helpful for anxiety and panic. It calms your nervous system so you can focus on the things that you need to get down. 


An example of this is the 4-7-8 technique, where you breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and then breathe out for 8 seconds. 


During each breath, you are mindful of the present moment. Your thoughts are there, but you don’t allow them to consume you. Instead, you focus on your breath.


Book a Free Consultation with Bee Kind Counselling


Are you reading this blog and thinking that cognitive-behavioral therapy may be the right fit for you? 


Do you feel like one of the cognitive-behavioral therapy coping strategies stands out to you?


If you want to start your journey in therapy and you feel like Bee Kind Counselling may be a potential fit for you, you can book a free 15-minute consultation by emailing admin@beekindcounselling.com, calling 519-757-7842 ext. 1, or booking through the website below.
















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